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Tarquini untouchable in Feature Race

10 September 2000

Honda's Gabriele Tarquini took a dominant lights to flag victory in the Feature Race at Oulton Park as Anthony Reid further increased his lead over title rival Alain Menu.

Gabriele Tarquini left the rest of the BTCC field battling in his wake as he stormed to his third win of the year, leading almost every lap as he strolled to victory.

The top two positions from the earlier Sprint Race were reversed as Anthony Reid followed the Honda home to increase his lead over Alain Menu to nine points heading into the last round at Silverstone.

As in the first race of the day, the main excitement surrounded the fight for the lower positions with the scrap fro third place remaining unresolved until long after the pit stops.

James Thompson initially held the place from Menu, Yvan Muller and Rickard Rydell although lightning quick stops from Menu and Jason Plato put them in third and fourth places respectively with Muller, Vincent Radermecker, Thompson, Tom Kristensen and Rydell all closely following.

Last men to pit were Matt Neal and Reid but while Neal was trapped at the back of the Super Touring, Reid was easily able to retain his second place even though Menu was now right behind the Championship leader.

However Menu's weight disadvantage soon took its toll and the Swiss driver fell back to sixth at the flag behind an inspired Muller, Plato and a hardworking Thompson who gave himself a mountain to climb after pitting too early.

Tarquini's comfortable six second advantage was erased on lap 17 when Kristensen suffered a scary accident at the high speed Druids corner, the right front brake disc exploding and ripping the bodywork and tyre to shreds. The Danish driver was able to guide his Honda backwards into the tyre barrier meaning that personal damage was minimal although he was visibly shaken after the crash.

The dangerously placed Accord required another appearance from the safety car but while the field was bunched up once more, Tarquini's win was never in doubt and in the remaining ten laps after the safety car disappeared, the Italian opened up a comfortable three-second cushion over Reid.

Muller secured his second podium finish of the meeting but it wasn't enough to save his title chances and it is now virtually impossible for the Frenchman to beat either Reid or Menu. Rydell also suffered a miserable race and faded to eighth at the end, behind the Independent Nissan of Neal who would have taken Menu for sixth had the race gone one lap longer. Rydell is now 28 points behind Reid with just 33 points up for grabs and it will take a minor miracle for the Swedish driver to take the title.

The only other retirement amongst the Super Touring brigade was the unfortunate Radermecker who suffered an engine failure on lap 18, just when it looked as though he was on course for at least a top five finish.

Class B fell to James Kaye after Alan Morrison was trapped amongst the leaders behind the safety car. That effectively left Kaye with a lap advantage over the Peugeot, which also had to make a lengthy stop to have its brake fluid topped up.

Dan Eaves came through into second place in Class and tenth overall while Gareth Howell recorded another good result with third in class ahead of series regular Mark Lemmer and Morrison who faded to fifth.

With just two races to go, both driver's championships still hang in the balance with nine points separating Reid and Menu in the main attraction and eleven separating Morrison and Kaye in the 'Baby Class.' Silverstone next Saturday night will undoubtedly be a spectacular event and a fitting send off to the Super Touring era.


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